Meeting Manners at Risk as Multitasking Becomes New Norm, According to New PGi Survey

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IT and SMB Professionals Value Technology That Enables Face-to-Face Moments

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When you add the visual element to a meeting, you better connect with others and become even more productive. A meeting isn’t just a business transaction; it’s an opportunity to establish trust.

A new survey shows business professionals embrace the ease and freedom provided by virtual meetings, but are frustrated by less-than-mannerly behaviors in the boardroom or on conference calls. The survey, “Meetings Dos and Don’ts,” from PGi, (NYSE: PGI), a leading provider of meeting and collaboration solutions, polled small-business owners and IT decision-makers in March.

Overwhelmingly, survey respondents highly value technology that enables “face-to-face” moments without incurring travel costs.

“When you add the visual element to a meeting, you better connect with others and become even more productive,” said PGi CEO and Chairman Boland T. Jones. “A meeting isn’t just a business transaction; it’s an opportunity to establish trust. Technology doesn’t replace relationship building. Technology should support it.”

In the new PGi study, nearly two in three IT decision-makers surveyed consider monitor sharing to be the greatest meeting innovation of the last five years. Nearly six in 10 IT decision-makers cited video conferencing. In contrast, almost half of small-business owners surveyed consider video conferencing and the conference call to be the greatest meeting innovations to transform their operations.

Those surveyed said that while they overlook the distractions of virtual meetings, they prefer in-person meetings over conference calls (58 percent IT, 47 percent SMB). Ironically, even though business professionals want to see others during meetings, they don’t necessarily want to be seen themselves. Both IT and SMB survey respondents admitted to the same irritating behaviors they detest in others during meetings, like checking e-mail, searching sports scores or leaving the room.

“While people want total attention when they are leading a meeting, everyone also demands the freedom to multitask as needed,” Jones said. “No matter where people are in the world, technology makes it possible to replicate a face-to-face meeting over the Web, while liberating attendees from the strict decorum expected when people sit in the same room. As meeting experts, we know firsthand that people thrive when together, virtually or physically.”

Among the top meeting frustrations reported by business professionals surveyed:

  •     Engaging in side conversations: 72 percent (IT), 69 percent (SMB)
  •     Checking personal e-mail: 58 percent (IT), 64 percent (SMB)
  •     Zoning out: 49 percent (IT), 54 percent (SMB)
  •     Checking sports scores: 43 percent (IT), 51 percent (SMB)
  •     Leaving the room: 38 percent (IT), 41 percent (SMB)

PGi’s U.S. survey, conducted in March, identified that more than half of the respondents secretly multitask during meetings. Only a few admitted to getting “caught” multi-tasking (34 percent of IT decision-makers, 21 percent of SMB owners), suggesting an attitude of “do as I say, not as I do”.

While U.S. professionals are prone to meeting multitasking, Australians seem less fervent about doing other things and are more focused on getting to the meeting via technology no matter their location. In a January survey commissioned by PGi’s Sydney office, 60 percent of Australian respondents said they have participated in Web conferences or conference calls at places other than the office, including home, a bar, a bathroom or on a flight.

The margin of error for both the sample of small-business owners and IT decision-makers (500 people) is plus or minus 4.2 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence. Interviews were conducted in March 2010. The study is available at

About PGi
The world collaborates with PGi. Our advanced meeting, conferencing and collaboration solutions energize people and organizations to connect more meaningfully and work together more productively. Our customers include more than 50,000 companies and nearly 90% of the Fortune 500. Every month, 12 million people around the world use PGi’s advanced solutions and next-generation platform to meet, work and collaborate. PGi is headquartered in Atlanta with operations in 24 countries worldwide. You can learn more at

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Sara Pilling
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